My Maternal 3rd. Great German Grandmother, Marie “Mary” Rabe (Kobel)


Liege, Belgium

Name: Marie “Mary” Rabe (Kobel), daughter of Michael Rabe and Catharina Louisa Mueller of Germany.

Born: about 1808 in Liege, Belgium. 

Married: 1826 in Germany to Heinrich Kobel.

Children: (3)

Maria “Mary” Kobel (Clausen) (1827-1903)

Wilhelm “William” Kobel (1830-1900)

Jacob Heinrich Kobel  (1833-1900)

Died: after 1900 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany

Schloss Schwerin, Deutschland

Schloss Schwerin, Deutschland

In Mecklenburg during the 1700s and 1800s a type of Feudalism existed known as “Inherited Serfdom”. The land owners controlled the economy and ruled their estates with absolute authority.

The peasants were dependent entirely on the nobles who could even buy and sell them with or without their property. The tax rate on the peasants had to be reviewed every two to three years, and was usually increased at that time. They could not acquire any more land than they already had.

Their Landlords produced crops for export from their vast estates by using the labor of these bonded peasants, servants and laborers. The landlords were known as “Landjunker”. This word comes from “Jung Herr” which means “young noble”.

By the 1800’s the Landlords had driven away more and more peasants with their highhanded ways. They then incorporated those peasants’ plots into their estates, and crop production expanded further. This callous robbery of the peasant properties was known as “peasant seizure”. Ten thousand peasants lost their holdings in this way.

In Mecklenburg, where the Nobility owned almost all of the land and dwellings, the number of estimated peasant foreclosures went from 2,490 to nearly 12,000 by 1800 AD. The former peasants who had land left held only small holdings which ensured little more than a bare livelihood for themselves.

In 1807 Baron von Stein tried to carry through a reform of the Feudal system. He felt the peasants’ and laborers’ lot had to be improved. He did not want to abolish the large Landholders, but they were to be limited in their political and administrative powers and to improve the state of their workers.

At that time, workers worked from sunrise to sunset for a pfennig an hour, a very small amount. the value of goods (potatoes, corn, wood, etc.) was deducted from that and most of their work was paid for by these goods. Women and children performed heavy work.

Baron von Stein’s reform said that peasants could now change their place of residence without permission, and children were allowed to learn a trade. But the Landlords fought these progressive measures, refused to implement them, and the edict of Baron von Stein was never executed.

From 1806 to 1813 the country suffered great hardship and destruction.


mecklenburg, germany

Mecklenburg, Germany

Link: Understanding Your Ancestors



My Maternal 3rd.Great Grandfather, Heinrich Kobel, Germany

Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany
Name: Heinrich Kobel
Born: about 1808 in Germany
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany harbour


Married: about 1826 in Germany to Marie “Mary” Rabe.

Children: Maria Kobel (Clausen)

Died: after 1900 in Germany

Nearly everyone in Mecklenburg was poor – and in each class the people were worse off than those in the same class in many other Western and Northern European localities. Landless peasants made up the majority of the population. They had few possessions of their own. Most owned no land, no farm, and often no home. Sometimes landless peasants built little temporary houses. Other times, they lived in the homes of landowners. They went from place to place, working on the farms of other people. They had no power and no rights. Many trades throughout Germany were organized into a system of guilds, or professional organizations. 

source: Understanding Your Ancestors

mecklenburg vorpommern germany

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany



Schwerin Castle, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany